DEAD END GENE POOL by Wendy Burden!
It’s dark. It’s funny. And it’s all true! Here’s a synopsis:
In the tradition of Sean Wilsey’s Oh The Glory of It All and Augusten Burrough’s Running With Scissors, the great-great-great-great granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt gives readers a grand tour of the world of wealth and WASPish peculiarity, in her irreverent and darkly humorous memoir.
For generations the Burdens were one of the wealthiest families in New York, thanks to the inherited fortune of Cornelius “The Commodore” Vanderbilt. By 1955, the year of Wendy’s birth, the Burden’s had become a clan of overfunded, quirky and brainy, steadfastly chauvinistic, and ultimately doomed bluebloods on the verge of financial and moral decline-and were rarely seen not holding a drink. In Dead End Gene Pool, Wendy invites readers to meet her tragically flawed family, including an uncle with a fondness for Hitler, a grandfather who believes you can never have enough household staff, and a remarkably flatulent grandmother.
At the heart of the story is Wendy’s glamorous and aloof mother who, after her husband’s suicide, travels the world in search of the perfect sea and ski tan, leaving her three children in the care of a chain- smoking Scottish nanny, Fifth Avenue grandparents, and an assorted cast of long-suffering household servants (who Wendy and her brothers love to terrorize). Rife with humor, heartbreak, family intrigue, and booze, Dead End Gene Pool offers a glimpse into the fascinating world of old money and gives truth to an old maxim: The rich are different.
And you thought YOUR family was weird!!
Ok, so here’s the deal. I have 20 COPIES of DEAD END GENE POOL available for our reading series, compliments of Gotham Books, a division of Penguin Group! We’ll get the books out to everyone who’s interested in participating. Then we’ll discuss it here, and Wendy will join in! Think of it as a book club of sorts, except without the wine. Well, you can have wine in front of your computer if you like. Who’s gonna stop you?
E-mail me with your address (even if you think I have it!) to request a free copy of the book- first come, first served. Put “DEAD END GENE POOL” in the subject line, but please only request the book if you are interested in coming back for the discussion. Be sure it sounds like a book you’d enjoy. And I’m really sorry to our friends in other countries, but this is open to residents of US/Canada only.
Click here to read a full description of the book. Dead End Gene Pool will be in stores on April 1st, 2010, and the discussion will take place here on May 18th – with the author participating ‘live’ for an hour! I will post details for the discussion about a week before along with an email reminder to those who’ve won the book.
I hope you’ll join us!
A little Reading Series history:
Why do we blog? Why do we read blogs? For me it’s because I love to read, and I love discussing the books I read with others.
So out of that “desire to discuss” was born the Reading Series idea. Another blogger and I really liked the idea of a virtual book club. 20 of us would read the same book and come back to talk about it, with the author in attendance! This was such a huge hit with the Summer Reading Series (Beach Trip, All We Ever Wanted Was Everything, and Two Years, No Rain) that we did a Winter Reading Series (for the book Keeping the Feast). Now it’s a ‘thing that we do’ with TLC Book Tours.
My TLC partner Trish from Hey, Lady! is having a Spring Reading Series discussion for The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott coming up in April. Those books have already been claimed (and apparently, really quickly. She claims she almost had her fingers bitten off by rabid book fans!) SO, please be fast if you want to participate in this one.. and please don’t bare your teeth.. I like my fingers right where they are..
UPDATE: 3/23 at 2:30 pm PST- I still have 7 books left, and all my fingers